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DHS Reaches Milestone for Critical U.S. Infrastructure Protection

New York, May 23, 2007

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced the completion of seventeen Sector-Specific Plans (SSPs) in support of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP). The SSPs are the culmination of a national planning effort that began nearly five years ago when President Bush issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7, establishing a national policy for protecting key U.S. infrastructure and resource sites. The directive identified seventeen critical infrastructure and key resource (CI/KR) sectors that require protective actions to prepare for, or mitigate against, a terrorist attack or other hazard.

While the NIPP provides an overall architecture for safeguarding the nation's critical infrastructure, the SSPs create a comprehensive risk management framework to establish national priorities, goals and requirements. The SSPs serve as a roadmap for how infrastructure sector stakeholders are implementing measures to reduce risk and strengthen security.

In a recent DHS press release Michael Chertoff explains, “The consequences of an assault against America's vast network of critical infrastructure sites could be dire, both in loss of life and in economic impact. At the same time, we must avoid imposing onerous security measures that would damage or make economically impractical the very systems that we're trying to protect. The security roadmap announced today reflects unprecedented coordination among the public and private sectors. These plans are already significantly strengthening vital infrastructure and reducing vulnerability to all hazards – terrorist attack and natural disaster alike.”

Each SSP establishes a sector-specific risk-reduction consultative network to exchange best practices and facilitate rapid information sharing among federal, state, local, and tribal governments as well as private sector business and industry.

Sectors addressed by the SSPs include:

  • agricuture and food
  • banking and finance
  • chemical
  • commercial facilities
  • commercial nuclear reactors
  • dams
  • defense industrial
  • drinking water and water treatment systems
  • emergency services
  • energy
  • government facilities
  • information technology
  • national monuments and icons
  • postal and shipping
  • public health and healthcare
  • telecommunications
  • transportation systems
Stakeholders from many of these sectors have been key contributors to the initiatives of the American National Standards Institute’s Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP), a partnership between the public and private sectors to identify, promote, and accelerate the adoption of consensus standards critical to homeland security.

Final ANSI-HSSP deliverables have addressed perimeter security, enterprise power security, biological and chemical threat agents, emergency preparedness and business continuity, and training programs for first responders, among other critical national security issues.

On May 29, the ANSI-HSSP will hold the kick-off meeting for a new workshop that will examine how standards and conformity assessment programs can be leveraged to improve U.S. transit security [See related article: ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel to Hold Workshop on Transit Security].

For more information on the May 29 workshop and the ANSI HSSP, please visit

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